Air PollutionAir QualityOutdoor Air QualityWhat is Hyperlocal Air Quality Monitoring Network?

Until now, air quality monitoring was limited to elaborate monitoring set-ups and a diluted network. However, the outbreak of sensor technologies has unlocked new horizons in air monitoring at even granular levels. Hyperlocal air quality monitoring is a fresh concept. But what is it? Read more to find out.

Air quality monitoring is a mighty key that can unlock the atrocity of air pollution. Air quality is dynamic. Numerous meteorological, topographical, natural, and anthropological factors determine the air quality trends of a location. There can be spatial variation in air quality data within minute ranges. Extensive air quality data is essential in laying the foundation of a concrete air quality management plan. Conventionally, reference-level analyzers gave the required data insights. However, these analyzers cost an exorbitant amount. Hence, their utility narrows down to fewer numbers and locations.

 What are the demerits of traditional air quality monitoring? 

Most of the air quality monitoring stations in the cities are allocated in their accessible areas. Thus, these stations that monitor the ambient air quality are not indicative of the pollution at the street-level. Due to the exhaustive cost and sparse network of the Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Stations (CAAQMS), they fail at furnishing a thorough reflection of the status of air quality. The pollutants entrap themselves in the condensed streets and create an impenetrable blanket of pollution. These dense avenues remain out-of-reach for traditional air quality monitors.

As a result, authorities fail to lay down a concrete plan of action against air pollution. Therefore, there has not been any significant impact of their policies in improving the quality of air and thus, life. Air pollution continues to be an invincible arch-nemesis, striking down the health and economy together.

However, sensor-based monitoring devices have emerged as the knight in the shining armor. Not only are they compact and portable, but they are also cost-effective and easy-on-maintenance. This state-of-art advancement has led to the rise of a new concept called hyperlocal air quality monitoring. 

 What is Hyperlocal air quality monitoring? 

Hyperlocal air quality monitoring concocts a web of many such mobile or low-cost instruments. Such a dense network will be instrumental in providing a comprehensive review of human exposure to air pollutants. Hyperlocal air quality monitoring will enable air quality monitoring in the untapped parts of a city. It will facilitate the formation of specific counter-strategies to ameliorate the impacts of air pollution. Going hyperlocal would tend to make the invisible visible.

Studies indicate that uneven distribution is a characteristic of fast-traveling air pollutants. Air pollution can be up to eight times worse on one extreme of a block than another. By street-level or hyperlocal air quality monitoring, we tend to bring high spatial resolution (every 30-100 meters, for instance) and high temporal resolution (variation every minute or few minutes) to the forefront. 

Difference in air quality index

Difference in real-time air quality index within a spatial range of 1.7 km. Hence, a few stations cannot be descriptive of a large area.

 What does it mean to go hyperlocal?